SERVICE children and young people are set to benefit from additional support in education and wellbeing thanks to a programme led by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
The University is leading the Lancashire and North West Service Children’s Progression (SCIP) Alliance, which will allow children to access additional support in school to help them progress into further and higher education.
Lancashire’s SCIP Alliance aims to work with local councils, army welfare, Future U, the Lancashire Armed Forces Hub and the College for Military Veterans and Emergency Services to raise awareness of the added burdens children often face and offer additional support and guidance. This may include hosting family events throughout the year, educational visits to colleges and universities and additional pastoral care and counselling when needed.
While 78 per cent of parents of service children in the UK want their young people to go into higher education, only 24 per cent do so – compared to 43 per cent of the general population. Service children commonly face additional pressures from a young age that can affect their education, such as moving schools multiple times and coping with a parent being deployed.
Anthony Goth, headteacher at Weeton Primary School where 85 per cent of children come from military families, welcomed the alliance. He said: “People don’t realise the additional emotional stress that these children are put under from a young age, so anything that can raise awareness of this is fantastic.
“We want to support children from military families to reach their potential. If a school that isn’t used to having armed forces children has a single point of contact through the alliance to ask how they can support the family and make them feel included, then it could make a huge difference.”
UCLan last year won an Armed Forces Covenant silver award for its support to defence and the wider armed forces community and is working with Lancashire Care Foundation Trust, Lancashire County Council and army HQ NW to run the Lancashire Armed Forces Hub to help with job opportunities, health and housing services, employment, education and training for the armed forces community.
The university also houses the College for Military Veterans and Emergency Services, which helps families make a smooth transition from a career in the military to civilian life.
Dr Rachel Cragg, UCLan pro vice chancellor (academic development), said: “The university has already pledged its commitment to supporting military families, so it’s ideally placed to lead the Lancashire SCIP in bringing the relevant services together in one strong voice. Through research we can inform future polices and frameworks.”
The national Service Children’s Progression Alliance is a partnership of organisations focused on improving outcomes for children from military families and is funded by the MOD.